What are the Different Types of Bean Bag Furniture?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Bean bags have come a long way since their inception in the middle 20th century. The bean bag furniture of today is more than simply a cushion-like device that serves the purpose of a chair. Furniture options today make it possible to sit, sleep, and lounge while still keeping the recognizable shape and function of the bean bag.

Uniform polystyrene pellets can be used as bean bag stuffing.
Uniform polystyrene pellets can be used as bean bag stuffing.

The most basic type of bean bag furniture is the chair. Once marketed only with heavy duty vinyl shells, the chairs of today are manufactured using materials such as leather, vinyl and even treated fabric blends. It is possible to purchase a bean bag chair in just about any color. There are even animal prints, stripes, and other patterns available today.

Bean bag chairs are a popular furniture staple for kids' rooms and college dorms.
Bean bag chairs are a popular furniture staple for kids' rooms and college dorms.

Along with bean bag chairs, the bean bag lounger has become a popular option. Marketed under several different brand names, the basic idea is still the same. The difference is that the body of the device is a little wider and a little longer. This makes it possible to use the elongated bean bag as chaise lounge in the home, on the patio, or even by the pool. In a pinch, the lounger can also be used as a guest bed.

A recent innovation in bean bag furniture is the bean bag sofa. This type of furniture is somewhat of a hybrid, in that it couples a sturdy base with the style and comfort of a bean bag. As with the lounger, the sofa version is elongated and oversized, making it possible to accommodate at least three people. The base keeps the sofa in place, while the bean bag filler in the attached shell makes it possible to sink into the device and have the furniture contour to the body with ease.

While natural filler was once the only option with bean bag furniture, that is no longer the case. Plastic filler that is composed of small pieces of reclaimed plastic is one option. Soft polystyrene beads are also popular with many bean bag enthusiasts. It is not unusual for some manufacturers to create furniture using a mixture of fillers, allowing each piece to enjoy the advantages of each type of filler included in the mix.

Thanks to online shopping, it is now possible to order bean bag furniture directly from many manufacturers. There are a few that will custom design the furniture to client specifications, making it possible to select a pattern, shell type and a specified filler or mix of fillers with relative ease.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@rundocuri- I know what you mean about old bean bag furniture. It always seemed like it wasn't filled enough with stuffing.

I do think that the bean back furniture sold today is made of better materials and is more comfortable. I have a modern bean bag chair, and I think it has a lot more support than old bean bag furniture use to have. I have back pain too, and sitting on it never seems to cause my pain to flare up.


Does anyone know if today's modern bean bag furniture is good for people with back pain? Many years ago I had a bean bag chair, but it was very soft and uncomfortable. I like the style and simpleness of it though, so I'm thinking about purchasing a bean bag furniture set. However, I would only consider this type of furniture provided that sitting on it won't aggravate my back issues.

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